All About Calcium : How Much in a Day ?

All About Calcium : How Much in a Day ?

Calcium plays a very important role in many basic functions of the body. Your body needs calcium to circulate blood, move muscles and release hormones. Calcium also helps carry messages from your brain to other parts of the body. Calcium is a major part of tooth and bone health as well. It makes your bones dense and strong. If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, your body will take it from the bones.
Your body doesn’t produce calcium, which means you rely totally on your diet for calcium. Your body needs vitamin D in order to absorb calcium. That means if you’re low vitamin D. you won’t fully benefit from a calcium rich diet. Studies have shown that calcium may ease the early symptoms of PMS. Recommended amount of calcium intake depends totally on your age and body type

Functions of calcium

  • Bone and teeth formation
  • Blood circulation and blood vessel formation
  • Clotting of blood
  • Vitamin B12 absorption
  • Muscle contraction
  • Enzymes activites
  • Release of hormones
  • Metabolic make up and fat loss
  • Carries messages from brain to other body parts

Some important points about calcium

  • Our body doesn’t make calcium
  • Vitamin D is crucial for absorption of calcium
  • Calcium is very important for women
  • Excess calcium may lead to constipation, bloating, kidney stones etc
  • Only 20-50% calcium from our diet gets absorbed

Reasons for calcium deficiency

  • Low calcium diet
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Food intolerances (milk allergy etc)
  • Vegan diet
  • Medications specially antibiotics
  • Nutrients not getting absorbed properly
  • Genetic issues
  • Growing age
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Protein supplements in excess
  • Excess caffeine
  • Unhealthy gut

Daily calcium requirement

  • About 600-800 miligrams for adults (Indian guidelines)
  • About 1000 miligrams for adults (World guidelines)
  • 1200 miligrams for pregnant women
  • 1200 miligrams for lactating mothers
  • 1000-1200 miligrams for adults above 50 years of age

Symptoms of calcium deficiency

  • Back pain, neck pain
  • Pain in bones and joints
  • Muscle cramps
  • Cracking sound in bones
  • Numbness and tickling in fingers
  • Weak and brittle nails
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Depression and low mood
  • Memory problems and confusion
  • Difficulty in swallowing

Important vegetarian food source for calcium

Food Measurement Quantity of calcium
Milk 1 cup 300 mg
Yogurt / dahi 1 cup 260 mg
Chia seeds 1 tbsp 126 mg
Sesame seeds 1 tbsp 90 mg
Almonds 08 40 mg
Leafy vegetables 1 cup 250 mg
Tofu 1/2 cup 380 mg
Dry figs 05 100 mg
Amaranth 1 cup 220 mg
Ragi 1 cup 300 mg
Bhindi 1 cup 90 mg
Orange 1 medium 55 mg
Rajma / Chole 1 cup 230 mg
Lentil 1 cup 180 mg
Soya 1 cup 240 mg
Raisins 10 12 mg
Cumin seeds 1 tsp 20 mg
Coriander 1 tsp 14 mg

Types of calcium supplements

  • Calcium carbonate (40% elemental calcium)
  • Less expensive, decent absorption
  • Calcium citrate (21 % elemental calcium)
  • Well absorbed, more expensive, protection from kidney stones
  • Calcium orotate (20.6 % elemental calcium)
  • Well absorbed, very expensive. Lesser side effects
  • Calcium phosphate (31 % elemental calcium)
  • Decent absorption, effect same as calcium carbonate, inexpensive
  • Calcium lactate (13 % elemental calcium)
  • Good absorption, low content of calcium element, may contain milk

Do not take Iron and Calcium supplements together and avoid taking tea / coffee with it

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